Elevate Your Meal: The Best Wines for Short Beef Ribs

Short ribs are a delicious cut of beef that can be prepared in a variety of ways. The best wine for short ribs is one that enhances the flavor of the meat and complements its richness. Red wines are often paired with short ribs due to their full-bodied nature. You can also try something different like Gamay or Pinot Noir if you’re looking for something new.

What is the best wine for Short Ribs?

Many wines pair well with short ribs, but the most popular types are red wine. Red wine is full-bodied and has enough tannins and acidity to stand up to the rich flavors of beef. It also has a long history of being paired with beef as it was once used as an additive in bovine feed before industrialization brought us modern grains and diets.

Go for Big Bold Reds!

Whether you’re serving short ribs with a hearty tomato sauce or with a rich red-wine sauce, select a red wine that’s full-bodied, has plenty of tannins and acidity, and will stand up to the meat’s richness.

Here are my suggested wines:

Shiraz/Syrah

Calcareous Reserve Syrah 2020, Paso Robles

From the winery. “Aged in 40% deeply toasted French barrels for 18 months, our Estate Syrah is made to showcase the depth and power of the varietal from our soil. Full of juicy blackberry, dark cocoa, and tar mingling with rich fully ripe tannin, this massive wine is built for marbled rib eye and slow-smoked pork shoulder. It should age exquisitely for 12+ years.”    

Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend 2018

A great wine to pair with. Flavors of black and red fruits with black pepper. Notes of vanilla, and chocolate with good acidity. Blended 57% Syrah, 28% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Cabernet Franc.

Seppeltsfield 2018 Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

You can’t have a list of great Shiraz without a Barossa Valley and this is a cracker. It is a bold red with a fruity bouquet of dark cherry and blackberry with hints of oak, vanilla, and coffee. Acidity is good with medium tannins.  Highly recommended.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Substance ‘Cs’ Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From the winery itself, “Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Currant, blackberry, cigar box with touches of chocolate, cedar, and pencil lead. Full flavored & just so damn good. I should raise the price!”

Château Lynch-BagesPauillac (Grand Cru Classé) 2016

It exhibits a deep red color with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrants, and a distinctive hint of mint. On the palate, it is full in body with ripe tannins and cassis throughout. The finish is long.

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Zinfandel

Journeyman Wines, San Lorenzo ‘The Pearl’ Old Vine Red (Alexander Valley)

A floral bouquet with notes of tobacco and anise. This is a bold, full-bodied red wine. It has rich flavors of chocolate, with dark fruits and pepper. Velvet smooth mouthfeel and a tannic finish. Let it breathe before serving.

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Dina’s Vineyard Zinfandel

Hartford’s Russian River Valley Zinfandel presents aromas of ripe plum, blackberry, and black cherry. White pepper and allspice add complexity to this wine’s fruity bouquet. A burst of blueberry, raspberry, nutmeg, and chocolate flavors leads to a long-lasting finish.

Carlisle Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2020

Another excellent Zinfandel from Russian River, California. Dark ruby-red in color. On the nose, it is bright cherry with aromas of blackberry and raspberry with notes of vanilla and tobacco. It is medium-full-bodied and very smooth on the palate. 

Chianti Classico

Vigna Graspoli 2018 – Lamole di Lamole

The wine’s color is deep ruby, and the nose gives off hints of violet, iris flowers, and berries. Aromatic herbs and sweet spices are also present. The taste is elegant with very fine tannins that give it a powerful but smooth finish.

Il Poggio 2017 – Monsanto Castle

Il Poggio Chianti Classico has a deep red color and an aroma that combines violet, black cherry, and spices. It tastes warm and rich with a long finish. It pairs well with a variety of grilled meats, stews, and aged cheeses.

Grand Selection 2019 – Brancaia

The color is deep ruby red. On the nose, it is extremely elegant with scents of wild fruits and cherry chocolate, licorice, and Caribbean cedar. The taste is rich and furrowed by precise and well-dissolved tannins. The finish is long.

Bordeaux

2019 Duffau-Lagarrosse Chateau Beausejour

This wine is harvested from old vines grown in chalky clay soil, which delivers a distinctive wine. It opens with a fruity bouquet of raspberry and blueberry with hints of plum, chocolate, and spice. It is also fruity on the palate. Rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, and a wine that will age well if cellared.

2020 Chateau Mangot Cuvee Todeschini ‘Distique’

A great value authentic Bordeaux. It is ruby red in color with aromas of black and red berry fruit. It has notes of cherry, vanilla, and oak. This is a dry, medium acid, medium alcohol Bordeaux with good tannins.  Another that will benefit from aging.

2018 Errazuriz Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve

Looking beyond France’s borders for some value, this Chilean red is bold and exceptional.  It is deeply ruby red in color with an instant smack of blackberry and cherry.  With notes of oak with chocolate, black pepper, and a little spice, it has good acid and the finish is velvet smooth. Outstanding wine.

Other Options

Gamay

If you are looking for something different, consider a slightly sweet Gamay.

Gamay is a red wine grape variety that’s known for its fruitiness. It pairs well with short ribs because of its high acidity and low tannin content, which balances all of the rich meaty flavors in this dish.

While you don’t want to go too sweet with any wine you’re pairing with short ribs, if you’re going for something dry and fruity like Gamay you are on safe ground. It won’t overpower the ribs.

Here are some excellent Gamay options to look out for:

Georges Descombes Morgon (Beaujolais, France)

A simply outstanding Beaujolais with a floral bouquet and aromas of red berry fruits. The flavors are similarly of red berries with a floral undertone. Light to medium in body, the acidity is high in this very drinkable wine.

Scar of The Sea Topotero Vineyard Gamay, (San Luis Obispo, California)

From the winery,Think blood orange, peppercorn, and fresh strawberry”.

Critic tasting note: (2020 vintage) “Transparent in the glass, this herby display of Gamay from a very coastal vineyard fascinates with aromatic layers of tarragon, forest floor, uncracked peppercorn, and pine needle trampled into muddy soil on the nose. Tart berry and plum flavors pop on the sip, where green sage and wild earth elements carry into the finish. Matt Kettmann” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Adroit Gamay (San Benito County)

Another great Gamay from California and exceptional value too.

Critic tasting note: (2019 vintage) “Freshly smashed strawberry and lively hibiscus aromas meet with white pepper, pine needle, and light soil on the nose of this bottling. The palate’s texture is extremely taut, releasing red-currant, white-peppercorn, and tart red-plum flavors in waves of expression. Matt Kettmann” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a nice option if you’d like to try something other than the common Bordeaux-style reds. It has much less tannin than your typical Cabernet Franc or Merlot so it should pair nicely with beef ribs without overwhelming them with bitterness.

Here are some good Pinot Noir to try with your short beef ribs:

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Conclusion

The best wine for short ribs is red wine. You can use this guide to find one that you like, but the most popular types are Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chianti Classico, and Bordeaux wines. For something different, consider a slightly sweet Gamay or Pinot Noir.

I urge you to try out Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward’s sumptuous recipe for Red Wine-braised Short ribs on Bonappetit.com. I can’t imagine a better way to cook ribs.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out my others including the Best Wine for Prime Rib.